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Women with disabilities decry stigma

Health

Women with disabilities decry stigma

As the women celebrated the International Women’s Day recently, it emerged that Ugandan women with disabilities had challenges in accessing HIV/AIDS treatment.

In an activity to mark the day, making it difficult for them to access treatment.

 

A representative of women with disabilities, Betty Kwagala, said many HIV/AIDS programs did not cater for women with disabilities yet they too were prone to catching HIV.

Kwagala, who works with The AIDS Support Organization Uganda (TASO), said that apart from women with disabilities being sexually active, they were vulnerable to rape and domestic violence – through which they could easily get infected with HIV.

Kwagala said some health workers ask embarrassing questions to women with disabilities, especially regarding their sexuality.

“For example they ask them how they got infected with HIV,” Kwagala said. “Many service providers think that women with disabilities are not supposed to indulge in sex.”

Kwagala added: “They ask so many questions, are you also sexually active? And if you are pregnant it gets worse, you are asked who impregnated you? So we end up being isolated. We do not access Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission services because we fear being stigmatized more by service providers in hospitals.”

The chairperson of the coalition, Glaris Abiero Ojwang, said they would continue to engage government on the issue of treatment access for women with disabilities.

“We are alive ourselves about 15 to 20 something years because of treatment, we realize that the issue of access to treatment is still a challenge particularly to women with disability and those in rural areas” She said.

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